Temple Kol Ami is a Jewish Reform Congregation located in West Bloomfield. Their sustainability efforts have been extensive. They also received an Outstanding Green Congregations award from Michigan IPL at the 10th Anniversary Award Dinner. As an added step, Temple Kol Ami is currently applying for LEED Certification at the Silver Level for its education wing. Aside from energy efficiency, the congregation has also taken steps to promote environmental education in its religious school, hoping to expand their programs into the community.
Temple Kol Ami is made up of 330 families and individuals. Some members participate in the Social Action Committee that promotes, among other things, environmental consciousness in the world.
Constructing buildings to be more environmentally friendly and energy efficient can be an expensive prospect. Temple Kol Ami chose to make sustainable a process, something that can be implemented in many facets of the building and life.
***April 2016 Update***
Temple Kol Ami became the first synagogue in Michigan to earn LEED certification. Read more here.
Here are a few steps that were taken in the construction of the education wing:
- Separation of construction material into recyclable material and trash
- Ordered supplies from companies that were less that 500 miles from the area to decrease the carbon footprint of transport
- The building was designed with motion sensor lights in all of the classrooms and office spaces
- CFLs bulbs used instead of incandescent ones
- Used recycled material: carpet made of recycled material, plastic in chairs from recycled plastic
- All paint , sealing, and adhesive used are low emission (healthier paint for kids to be around)
- Stepped up an already aggressive recycling program
- All paper, plastic, glass, and cardboard is recycled.
- Nearly 100% of material is recycled
- No longer using disposable paper/plastic plates and utensils
- All Heating/Air Conditioning roof units are energy efficient
- Landscaping supports storm water runoff
- Bioswales installed with native species plants that do not need to be waters (also captures storm water runoff). As a result, no sprinkler system is needed, saving money on water as well as energy.
- Education and Outreach plan/religious education for environmentally responsible decisions.
Paul Gross has offered to share more of the work Temple Kol Ami has done to other congregations interested in pursing environmental stewardship and sustainability. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .